TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Students at John Tyler and Robert E. Lee high school who want to protect their community will get to do so sooner than they thought.
The Tyler ISD firefighting program is in its inaugural year and has four extremely engaged students, already.
"They're really excited about the program; they're energetic,” says Mike ‘Chief’ Baker, the instructor for the program. “They're like sponges, they absorb everything really well."
Tyler ISD has partnered with the Tyler Fire Department and Chief Coble, as well as with Tyler Junior College to allow the students to have full certification within two years.
"At the end of the whole two-year program we're going to have 12 certifications and we're going to be certified to be a firefighter in the state of Texas," says Drew Parks, a junior from Robert E. Lee.
Tyvon Loftis is a junior at John Tyler. He says he likes the variety of things they learn in the program.
"We learn the ticks and how stuff works in fire and types of fire and different ways to put it out. We learn situational awareness in some situations and how buildings work and all sorts of stuff."
Baker says providing this opportunity for students in Tyler will along them to invest and work in the community.
"If we take students that were born and raised here in Tyler, graduated high school here in Tyler and they're invested in the community where they work; they have ownership in their job. These are their family and friends they're getting to serve."
In the meantime, they’re just excited to learn and wear the gear while doing so.
“My favorite part about the program is to don the gear and walk around with it and learn while we’re in it and just… feeling like a firefighter.”